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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Links - 27th September 2018 (2)

The Scientists Who Starved to Death Surrounded By Food - "As the invading German army poured into the city looting and destroying anything of value, a group of Russian botanists holed up inside the vault of the Vavilov Institute of Plant Industry with a precious collection of seeds and edible plants. This collection, containing seeds from nearly 200,000 varieties of plants of which about a quarter was edible, constituted one of the world’s largest repositories of the genetic diversity of food crops. Among them were plenty of rice, wheat, corn, beans and potatoes, enough to sustain the botanists and see them through the worst days of the siege. But the scientists hadn’t barricaded themselves in the vault with food grains to save their lives, but rather to protect these seeds from the Nazis as well as from the starving people plundering through the streets in search for anything to eat"

(GC) - "Colorado is ordering Jack Phillips to bake a Pro-LGBT Cake. Again"
"I think it’s weird that there is only one baker in all of Colorado."

How Title IX Became a Political Weapon - WSJ - "As long as Title IX’s victims were wrestlers or swimmers from low-revenue men’s sports that were jettisoned to achieve participation-parity with women’s sports, nobody much cared. But now that the law is being turned into a tool to suppress free speech on college campuses, even liberals are starting to cry foul... “The very idea that a professor could be hit with a Title IX investigation over an opinion article she wrote in The Chronicle of Higher Education is so palpably ridiculous that there is simply no need to go further.”... The case brought against Brown University in the early 1990s by a coalition of feminists and trial lawyers set the stage. It alleged that Brown—which offered more women’s sports teams than men’s at the time—had violated the law by downgrading two women’s teams. The university produced reams of data showing that women at Brown had more opportunities to play sports than men, but more men than women played intramural sports by 3 to 1 and club sports by a whopping 8 to 1. To the applause of the Clinton administration, the court ruled that such data didn’t matter. The responsibility of the school wasn’t to provide equal opportunity to participate in sports—it was to educate women to be interested in sports. In effect the ruling said that Brown women didn’t know what they wanted. They only thought they were dancers or actors or musicians. They had to be taught that they were really athletes. They didn’t know what was good for them but the government did... If colleges couldn’t produce enough actual female bodies on the playing field, the schools were forced to cut male athletes until the participation rates of both sexes were the same... The new demands to combat what federal education officials also call a “rape culture” on campus are so excessive that even current and former Harvard Law professors have publicly complained that their school’s attempt to comply has undermined due process and is “overwhelmingly stacked against the accused.” But for Ms. Kipnis, it is the reduction of women to helpless, permanent victim status that has roused her and other feminists to anger."

An Alt-Right No-Show - WSJ - "The anticipatory media coverage of the event didn’t quite reach Super-Bowl hype levels, but it was close. And the number of white supremacists who showed up for the Sunday rally? Not 200. Not 100. About 20... In the last 12 months, the left—abetted by some in the media—has transformed Charlottesville into “Charlottesville”—a one-word symbol of civic and racial strife presumably at large in Donald Trump’s America... We wish Mr. Trump was more adept at navigating through this minefield. We also wish we didn’t have to read in the second paragraph of the New York Times coverage of Sunday’s microscopic rally that “even with the low turnout, almost no one walked away with the sense that the nation’s divisions were any closer to healing.” Even no news is bad news these days."

Long Hair on Men: Only for the Young? - WSJ - "“People seem freer about their appearance,” he said. Though it may sound implausible, Mr. Keefer has found long locks easier to maintain than a cropped cut. “I’ll condition my hair, but I mostly just run a brush through it before I shower and wash it”... Still, it is worth noting that in many workplaces (if not, say, the Senate), long hair is no longer verboten; none of the men I talked to had faced any censure at work"

The Secret Lives of Tumblr Teens - "teens perform joy on Instagram but confess sadness on Tumblr. The site, he said, is a “safe haven from their local friends. … On Tumblr they tell their most personal stories. They share things that they normally wouldn’t share with their local friends because of the fear of judgment. That has held true for every person that I’ve met.”... A study by Priceonomics found that Tumblr is the top source for BuzzFeed’s viral content... The outrage clicks were so powerful, Lilley and Greenfield decided to experiment with “negative attention.” Haters are more loyal than fans, so they promoted the bad hacks. The worst hacks brought in thousands of followers, and that’s how Lifehackable built the bulk of its audience. “Tom knew what was happening, and so then he was more incentivized to actually not do his job right,” Lilley said. “And in sucking, he succeeded.”"

For a pittance, Kenya is mortgaged to China :: Kenya - "the Chinese nationals who ‘own’ the SGR, run operations like masters on a slave plantation. Kenyan workers who spoke to Wafula said that they experience “racism and blatant discrimination.” Kenyans can’t eat at the same tables as Chinese. And when they’re being dropped off from work, they can’t ride in the same vans either. This sounds more like apartheid than industrialisation to me. And the segregation is made worse by the fact that the lingua franca on SGR precincts is Standard Chinese. Notice boards are printed in it, and records are kept in it"

Westminster crash: Salih Khater named as suspect - "The man arrested on suspicion of terror offences after a car crashed outside the Houses of Parliament has been named as Salih Khater by government sources. The 29-year-old British citizen, originally from Sudan, has also been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, Met Police said. He came to the UK as a refugee and was granted asylum.... as of the end of June 2018, there were 676 live investigations into potential terrorist plots. Since March 2017, 13 Islamist plots and four far-right plots had been foiled, he added."
Strange that they obsess so much about the "far right" when the threat is so minor

BBC Cast a Black Woman as a Historical English Queen. - "The new series of the 'The Hollow Crown' on the BBC has cast a black woman (Sophie Okonedo) as Margaret of Anjou. This is an actual historical figure who was the wife of Henry VI and thus was Queen of England from 1445-1461 and from 1470-1471... The only reason I post this is because there always seems to be an outrage when movies/tv shows are supposedly 'white washed'. For example, more recently, Scarlett Johansson was cast as an Asian character in a Hollywood adaptation of a Japanese anime franchise: 'Ghost in the Shell'. There was outrage because this was apparently 'yellowface'... That is just a fantasy character however. The difference with this is that it's a real historical figure being represented inaccurately. Just imagine the outrage if someone like Martin Luther King was cast as a white guy."
Being subject to double standards based on race is white privilege!

Joseph Fiennes 'shocked' to be cast as Michael Jackson - "Some fans have reacted angrily to the casting, but Fiennes said he thought Jackson was "probably closer to my colour than his original colour". Sky Arts said producers had "creative freedom" in the casting. Fiennes said he believed Jackson - who died in 2009 - had a "pigmentation issue" with his skin, so the issue of race should not come into play"
If they'd cast a black actor and lightened his skin...

Superheroes Don’t Wear Ponytails, and Yes, It’s Sexist - "why don’t Black Widow, Gamora, Scarlet Witch, and Mantis — and even superheroines beyond Infinity War, from Wonder Woman to Jessica Jones, Elektra, Storm, and She-Hulk — ever seem to take a second to throw their hair into a chic chignon (or, more likely, a half-assed messy bun like the rest of us do before an activity as simple as getting on the elliptical)?... The simplest answer is that comics are a visual medium, and a bunch of long, flowing hair swirling around during an already epic fight scene looks pretty cool
SJW logic: If you don't have a problem with people having superpowers you shouldn't have a problem with story logic bent for diversity ends (e.g. MaRey Sue [Rey in Star Wars]). But we need realistic hair physics on women

Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four Describes the Authoritarian Left Better Than It Does Trump - "Consider the Junior Anti-Sex League, the prudish youths in Orwell's story who think the "sex impulse" is dangerous and devote themselves to spying on interactions between the sexes. "Eroticism was the enemy," they believed. "Desire was thoughtcrime." If this prissiness finds its echo in anyone today, it isn't in the creepily oversexed, pussy-grabbing Trump—it's in the stiff buzz-killers of the campus feminist movement. These radical wallflowers demonize drunk sex, bossily insisting all sexual interactions must be "sober, imaginative, enthusiastic, creative, wanted, informed, mutual and honest." (Even the Junior Anti-Sex League didn't come up with such a thorough list of what counts as acceptable sex.) They drag male students to campus kangaroo courts for allegedly doing sex the wrong way. Student officials in Britain have banned the making of "animal noises" in the student bar lest they arouse sexual bravado in men, and sexual dread in women. Fortunately, it is curable. Some universities make freshmen undergo diversity training, inculcating them with the correct mindset on all matters racial, religious, and social. The University of Delaware, going full O'Brien, referred to its diversity training as "treatment" for incorrect attitudes. The New York Times reported last year that more and more students think diversity training "smacks of some sort of Communist re-education program." The modern campus, as devoted to treating moral infection as to imparting knowledge, could adopt O'Brien's cry as its slogan: "Shall I tell you why we have brought you here? To cure you!" And of course there's thoughtcrime. The Party punishes anyone who dares to hold a point of view it disagrees with. Not unlike modern P.C. warriors who will brand you a "denier" if you're not fully eco-conformist and a "misogynist" if you criticize feminism. Witness the doublespeak of today's leftist lovers of censorship. They create Safe Spaces, they speak of "the right to be comfortable". These are darkly Orwellian euphemisms for censorship... how about Newspeak, the Party's made-up, minimalist language that it pressures people to adopt? That finds expression today in the Pronoun Police, who demonize the use of "he" and "she" as potentially transphobic and invent Newspeak pronouns in their stead. Some campuses now want everyone to use "ze" as a default pronoun. "Ze" might be the most Newspeak word ever: a strange small word you must use if you want to be considered morally good. Then there is the war on history, the demolition of ugly or inconvenient historical ideas and symbols. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, old things that have fallen out of favor are plunged down the memory hole. Today, P.C. zealots demand the tearing down of statues of old colonialists or the renaming of university halls that are named after people from the past who—shock, horror—had different values to ours. The Year Zero fervor of Orwell's Party is mirrored now in the behaviour of intolerant culture warriors."

After the bitcoin boom: hard lessons for cryptocurrency investors - "eight months later, the $23,000 he invested in several digital tokens is worth about $4,000, and he is clearheaded about what happened."

Horror and disgust shouldn’t be our only response to pedophilia - "Sexual attraction to children is associated, on average, with lower IQ, a greater number of head injuries during childhood, and differences in the organization of the brain, suggesting that it is the result of neurodevelopmental disturbances. As a result, this is a preference that is hard-wired and not something that can be changed, exemplified by the fact that pedophiles (and likely, the priests in question) will have hundreds of victims over the course of a lifetime. One study estimated that a child molester who abuses boys will have, on average, 150 male victims... Roughly 1 per cent of the population is pedophilic, translating to 76 million people worldwide. Statistically speaking, every one of us knows at least one person who is a pedophile... Fact-based discussions will help us protect children by identifying at-risk individuals before they offend. But for some people, the fact that pedophiles exist at all forecloses on rational conversation. Shutting the discussion down out of discomfort, as many of us would understandably prefer to do, doesn’t eliminate the problem, but only sends it underground."

The myth of a New Nazism - "the collapse of the Weimar Republic happened in the midst of the worst economic crisis of the 20th century, when a third of the potential workforce was unemployed. Nothing on the scale of that economic calamity is happening today... The Weimar Republic also fell because the fascist movement used mass violence on the streets and decimated democratic and socialist, left-wing political forces. We have not seen anything similar to that today... the analogy between today and the rise of the Nazis obscures far more than it illuminates... The rise of fascism was an explicitly right-wing response to the rise of militant Communism. And that makes it very, very different from the rise of populism today... the Nazis never actually managed to win a majority in free and open elections. The largest share of the vote they ever received, in 1932, was about a third. The reason they were able to secure power was because of the active support of conservatives, the aristocrats and militarists, who sided with them in parliament, and, most importantly, because they were using mass violence and intimidation, exiling and murdering their opponents. This is how they came to power, through ruling-class support and force, not because of free and democratic elections... what prompted Professor Bessner and me to write this piece was that the over-reliance on the fascist analogy would lead us down the same path taken by pro-democratic and anti-fascist thinkers in the 1940s, like Hans Spier and Karl Loewenstein, both of whom fled Germany to the US in the 1930s. They came to the conclusion that fascism proved that democracy could not be trusted. And that for democracy to survive, the state had to curtail some freedoms. This line of thinking, this idea of militant democracy, which proved very influential in the US, led to the creation of very undemocratic, unaccountable institutions like the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council in the US. It was an ideological tendency that also led to the dramatic limiting of political horizons in postwar Europe... the so-called left [is] moving more and more in the direction of technocracy, and trying to achieve progress through technocracy, rather than through more popular control of the economy. And I think that is born of a deep disappointment with the masses, and a belief that the masses cannot be trusted to make the right economic decisions. And that tendency developed and deepened right through to the Obama administration, which was very much defined by technocracy."

How Accurate are Self-Reports? An Analysis of Self-Reported Healthcare Utilization and Absence When Compared to Administrative Data - "Results: Self-report and administrative data showed greater concordance for monthly compared to yearly healthcare utilization metrics. Percent agreement ranged from 30 to 99% with annual doctor visits having the lowest percent agreement. Younger people, males, those with higher education, and healthier individuals more accurately reported their healthcare utilization and absenteeism.
Conclusions: Self-reported healthcare utilization and absenteeism may be used as a proxy when medical claims and administrative data are unavailable, particularly for shorter recall periods."
Self-reporting isn't inaccurate
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